How to write cold emails

You have decided to reach new clients to increase the sales of your business.

That’s why you start looking for potential clients and sending emails away. You send 20 or even 30 emails a day, but you don’t get any response whatsoever.

Frustrating. Tell me about it!

I’ve been there too when I started offering my services to direct clients.

But let me tell you a secret:

When I learnt this lesson, everything changed. Believe me.

I started getting very positive answers from potential clients and closing more sales and collaborations.

If you don’t really know how to write cold emails or you think that you could be more effective at it, let’s see which are the tweaks that you can start implementing to improve your conversion rates.

Are your emails getting opened?

We can differentiate two stages when it comes to a first cold email: when they get opened and when they get answered.

You need to know if your emails get opened to work on different aspects of your strategy.

And I use a magic tool that works with Gmail that tells you if people open you emails or not: YesWare.

If you haven’t installed it yet, don’t even think about it! Go and install it right now!

My emails aren’t getting opened. What can I do?

This is mainly due to two common mistakes:

  1. People that you’re reaching out aren’t interested in what you’re offering. If this is the case, you should reconsider your market research. Maybe they aren’t your Ideal Customer Avatars, or maybe you’re contacting the wrong person within a company. Make sure that you gather enough information of the receiver before sending your email.
  2. The subject lines of your emails aren’t catchy enough.


How to write subject lines so people can’t resist reading your emails

  • Address a need: you’re solving the need of the person that you’re contacting. Make sure that your subject line reflects the solution of this need.
  • Personalise it: the more personal the subject line is, the more chances you’ll have to catch the attention of your reader. Try to add his/her name if you’re contacting an individual or the name of the company. Every emails you send must have its own and personalised subject line.
  • Keep the mystery: and follow up with the content of the email. This will grab the attention of your reader so click and open the email.

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You can have a look at these great examples of subject lines.

Now that my emails get opened, what can I do?

Well, there are a few copywriting techniques that you can implement in your emails to make people read the content of the email.

1. Write your emails with an objective in mind

And your objective shouldn’t be selling.

You can’t start selling your services to someone that doesn’t know you yet.

And this is the most common mistake that I find in people that don’t really know how to write cold emails.

You should give something before asking for something.

So this is my question for you at this point: why should your readers open your emails and waste their time reading your words?Tricky one, isn’t it?

You should try and offer them a sample of your work or services.

You can elaborate a report related to your services that they can find useful or you can offer them a small sample of your work.

For example, when I’m offering website translations to a potential client. I can contact someone whose Spanish version of his/her website has been very badly translated and fix a paragraph for him/her.

You may think that I’m working for free here, but what I’m really doing is to make them aware of how badly the Spanish version is, something that can catch their attention to consider hiring me.

Remember: you should give something before asking for something.

2. How to write cold emails: the content

What information should you include in a cold email?

  • Find an emotional connection with your reader. Maybe you know him already from a event or conference, or maybe you have listened to one of his talks, or maybe you have a client or friend in common. Try to find this emotional connection, because you’ll win extra seconds of his attention if you start your email talking about it. You can use LinkedIn and your network to know how you can connect with your readers.
  • Why are you reaching them specifically? They must feel special when they read your lines. If they notice that the same email could have been sent to more people out there, they will stop reading your email and it will end up in the trash.
  • Use bulleted lists and words in bold. People aren’t going to read all your email. They will scan it to see if there’s something interesting. That’s why you should use this to help them find the most important point in your words.
  • Keep it short and to the point. People are always busy, so don’t waste you time telling them how good you are or how many certificates or awards you’ve won. They don’t care. Tell them what you can do for them straightaway.
  • Add a call to action. And this is probably the most important part of the email. What do you want your reader to do? And again, it’s not selling. If you want them to download a report, make sure that it has a call to action as well. If you offer a sample of your work, maybe you can offer a consultation of Skype to talk about it. Whatever your objective is, make it explicit and visible in your email, and be specific about it.

Great, I’ve sent the email… Now what?

Follow up. And this is something that most people forget as well.

If you reader didn’t open your email, change the subject line or work on your market research.

Did you reader open your email but he didn’t do what you want him to? Then you should work on the content of your email.

Did you get a reply? Then you should have a strategy to lead all these people through your selling process.

If you offered a chat on Skype, make sure that you plan the structure of this chat to make it as profitable as possible. Plan all the questions that potential clients may have beforehand.

Every case is different as you can see, but make sure that you have a plan to follow up after sending all these emails.


Have you ever sent cold emails to reach new potential clients? Did it work for you? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear you experiences on how to write cold emails.

About David Miralles Perez

My name is David Miralles and I am aware of how languages can influence professional environments. Honing communication between two cultures has become crucial in today’s globalized world. And that is what I do by means of my translation and interpreting services. Small and medium enterprises and individuals can now spread their messages through cultural and linguistic barriers and make a big impact on an international scale.

2 Responses to How to write cold emails to entice more clients from now on

    Thank you for the useful article, David! YesWare works for Gmail only, right? However, many cold letters are sent from e-mail clients like The Bat or Foxmail. The e-mail clients have “Delivery and reading confirmation” options but they are not 100% guarantee. In many cases, I receive a reply to my e-mail even though I haven’t received any delivery confirmation.

    • Hi Oleg! Thanks a lot for your comment, I’m glad you liked it.
      As fat as I know, yes, YesWare is only compatible with Gmail.
      But I haven’t tried to used it with other email service providers.
      Since I wrote this post, I think they’ve changed their initial plan, but it’s definitely worth to have a look at it 🙂


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